tv Washington This Week CSPAN April 7, 2013 2:00pm-3:58pm EDT
feel optimistic. but we are facing some serious headwinds with the sequester. we have got ourselves in a place where we are looking at significant cuts in federal host: this in the weekly standard this morning. a huge disparity between those looking for work in those actually able to find a job. guest: it underscores the extraordinary ditch that president obama inherited. i do not know if the weekly
standard has short-term memory or long-term memory, but when he took office in 2008, we had the most serious fiscal and economic crisis this nation has faced since the great depression. host: at what time does it become the president economy? guest: it is the president's economy. i think the has done a great job calling on business to increase implement. we have record corporate profits in this country. the stock market is booming. what has not happened in the way that it could or should is a reinvestment in the working man and putting people back to work. that is a serious problem. the president has limited control over how many workingmen and women actually hit the streets. he is doing his job. i think he is pushing corporate america. we have to come together and improve this economic situation. guest: it is fascinating that there is a washington or on jobs. i will not -- aura on jobs. i will not cast blame. you have these tax increases
that kicked in at the beginning of the year, that had a direct result in slowing economic growth. you had the sequester which is made a lot of people nervous about investing. 2en you have other things -- million clerical jobs have been lost. a lot of those people have not been rehired. 2 million people cannot find work because there is no work for them. there is the ipad. you do not have people doing things -- you go to banks, atm's. it is a fascinating thing. i'm not sure washington has much of her spots. -- much of the response. what they have been doing is growth. guest: that is amazing to me. mostly republicans spent years and years driving down fair
taxation rates on capital gains and unearned income. the wealthiest people in the country, including me, pay less and less and less of our fair share, drove up the deficit, and then they complain about the deficit and say we have to strangle the federal budget, which has a direct effect on employment throughout the states, and then blame it on president obama? it is incredible to me. i think we need to come together and have a more reasonable taxation system, have the wealthy pay their fair share him and get more and more men and women back to work. host: let me put another issue on the table. timess from the new york this morning --
it was pointed out that harry reid, unless nomination start moving swiftly through the senate, another round of dramatic rule changes might be in the offing. what is going on here? guest: gridlock, obviously. i think the senate democrats run the upper chamber. the senate is in control of approving those judges. deals have to be made. when you have an ideological gridlock, when senator reed does not really want -- reid does not really want to cut the deals that need to be cut, the fact is the senate passed a budget for the first time in four years. they have not done much under the leadership of senate democrats. there is probably blame to go around, but the fact of the
matter is that you need to have a functioning legislative branch doing its job. it is fun for me to bash the senate. the senate has not been doing its job. this is one example of that. host: let me share with you this chart, from the new york times, a much slower pace. number of days a bush nominee in circuit courts were pending in the senate, 30 five days. for president obama, 100 48 days. in district courts, 35 days under george w. bush. 102 days for president obama. as we move further along, the longest trip appeals court vacancies, the seat vacated by the chief justice, john roberts, who was appointed by president bush, seven one half years that seat has been vacated. -- 7.5 years that seat has been vacated.
guest: you are seeing this unprecedented obstruction in the senate. i appreciate the president has called attention to this obstruction, not just judges, but nomination generally. it is a two-part problem. the misuse of the filibuster. it reached the point where you have to have 60 votes in order to order a cup of coffee. there have to be changes in that. people have to come to their senses. the other is a concentrated effort to stop the federal judiciary, denying access to courts, making sure that environmental laws and civil rights laws are less and less enforced. this is not by accident. host: ease of the words of senator harry reid.
we as a body have the power on any given day to change the rules with a simple majority. i will do that if necessary. it is called the nuclear option. guest: i think senate democrats are nervous about doing that because they might change these rules and then all of sudden republicans get in to control. and then what happens? the senate is a deliberative body. it takes a lot of time to deliberate. the rules are there for a reason. i think that is because they serve the minority and you never know when you are going to be in the minority. reached a point of inappropriateness when district courts -- district judges throughout the courts are being filibustered. it is not appropriate. host: our phone lines are open.
we talk about the issues of the past week and look ahead as congress returns to washington beginning tomorrow. we have seen the debate over same-sex marriage. senator bob casey joined a number of other democratic senators who have formally announced their views on that. we are waiting on other senators. what is happening on this issue? guest: it is quite amazing month in the senate. so the idea and reality of same- sex marriage has converged. the vast majority of people under 25 years old support it. i think we are reaching a point where it is a question of when, not whether. that said, the conservative
right has done an awful job in this country. we have more than 30 states where there is either a constitutional legislative ban on same-sex marriage. we are at the point where people are going to support it but a loss prohibited and tweet 1/2 to work hard to undo those laws. host: we have not heard from two senators. guest: they are in red states. i think this is a red states/blue state bank. it will be up to the supreme court. how: as a republican, significant was senator portman's announcement that his own son is openly gay and his support for same-sex marriage? guest: the interesting point was the democrats. as soon as he made that announcement, i think he is a great guy -- he had a bunch of democratic senators say that i have to get on the right side of this from their own
constituents perspective unless they live in red states. it did not change john banner's mind and house republicans will not change in the short term. in their states, they hear from their districts which are largely conservative. i don't think rob portman will change other republicans but i think it will have a significant impact on democrats. that a survey indicated when it comes to the u.s. constitution, 56% favor it on a state-by-state basis. the poll has a margin of error of 2.5%. guest: the fascinating thing is how quickly this has turned in the last four years. host: will the republican party ball in 2016?
-- evolves in 2016? guest: i don't know if a republican candidate will embrace same-sex marriage. it is a conservative party. conservativea issue. it is about gays and lesbians wanting to commit and form families and live with and law and do stuff. i welcome conservative support. i think it is crucial and i think it is coming. christiane of the right are changing their positions as well. host: what do you think will happen? what will the court decide? guest: i don't know. only the nine justices know. they don't even talk to each other about it. we have no idea. i am cautiously optimistic that there might be some statement of on constitutionality at least on the federal level. host: and to the benefit of taxes and states?
guest: they will save the federal government as never had a role in the state of marriage, that is a state role. i am cautiously optimistic we will see change their in a positive direction. it is clear the american public is moving in one direction on this and i and 11 -- delighted to live in a representative democracy or more officials are understanding what their kids -- constituents want. guest: i am not a supreme court expert. my guess is they will fight this out at the state level. host:" the new york times" looking at gun rights and will share with few comments from a senior official at a breakfast in a moment but let's go to ray from last vegas, democrats line, good morning. caller: 9 name is lee. host: sorry about that. caller: i want to make a
comment about the budget plan, the one that edie munster came out with. it's a joke. he came up with a budget. it is a budget for the rich is what it is. my 8-year-old nephew says to me -- he says i don't know too much about this but it is all for the rich. host: you are talking about the paul ryan budget plan? caller: yes, eddie munster, that's what we call him. one more comment about this violence against women act. 160 republicans voted against it and even the women voted against it. how could you be a woman and voted against it?
host: thanks for the call. guest: the paul ryan budget did two things -- it did not raise taxes by $1 trillion and a balanced the budget in 10 years. from the republican standpoint, they feel comfortable that when they go back to their constituents, their constituents will be very happy that the budget balances in 10 years. it is one of their best talking points. i don't think it is for the bridge. i think it is for common growth and budget responsibility. the: the house responded to president's budget friday --
guest: this is high charged rhetoric. seemshington, compromise to be a dirty word. the president has put out a budget which starts with john boehner's last offer. it includes some very significant proposals that are of concern to some on the left. is about a compromise. let's focus on the rhetoric -- i am much more interested in people sitting down and coming to real conversations on entitlement reforms and raving revenue in an inappropriate way. i think we will get there because i am cautiously optimistic.
sayinghe president is the increases in social security could be offset or changed through the so-called chain cpi which would reduce the amount people would get in benefits. this came up friday at the white house briefing. ♪ [video clip] >> speaking of revenue, the president has this inflation adjustment proposal in this plan. time and again, the president has said he would not raise taxes on middle-class. wouldn't the affects of the so- called chain cpi take people into higher tax brackets faster? that is an impact on the middle- class. isn't that an increase on the middle class? >> this is a technical adjustment to the so-called chain cpi that has been advocated by republicans that
mitch mcconnell ask for in a letter he presented during the negotiations over these budget issues. the offer that the president made to speaker john boehner and is incorporated in his budget, is not the president's ideal approach to our budget challenges. but it is a serious compromise proposition that demonstrates that he wants to get things done that he believes that we in washington should do the business of the american people by coming together and finding common ground. what his budget will prove is that you can do this. you can deal with our deficits without gutting programs that help the middle class or help seniors without slashing investments in airports and roads and highways and schools that we need to help our economy grow, not just next year, but 10 and 20 years from now, without eliminating investments or cutting investments in innovative research and development, whether it is medical,
technological research that help our economy grow and help improve the health of our citizenry. that is the proposition the president put forward on wednesday. he believes that there is an opportunity now to come together as a nation, come together as republicans and democrats in washington, and get this done for the american people for the middle class. host: from friday's briefing and this headline from " the new york times" - there is a quote in this police from the co-chair of string"and social security" - guest: not really, it used to be. republicans ran on a pretty bold medicare reform plan and
social security plan and they did not get beat this last election and the house. they kept the house. the real battle in washington is not between republicans and democrats. it's between entitlement spending and discretionary spending. discretionary spending is getting its butt kicked. if you care about veterans or anything in the budget that most people care about, they should really worry about how the entitlement keep growing and discretionary spending keeps shrinking. the cpi that the president is talking about is very modest. ofwill save trillions dollars over a long period of time and most people will not recognize a because they will get slightly less in their paychecks over 40 years. it saves a lot of money. that is the least we should be doing on entitlement spending. to invest in education or other things, you really need to
understand the battle but is going on in the washington budget. on the next "washington journal" we will look at the congressional agenda with chris cillizza. a report on the total cost of the wars of barack and afghanistan and their impact on the budget with linda of the harvard school of budget. that is here on c-span. next, a discussion on both the obama and bush administration's handling of the war on afghanistan. -- lists include from the cato institute this is one hour and a half.
on may 21, 2000 thousand to the american democrats and republicans -- which pledged to dance the creation of a broadbased gender sensitive and fully represented government in afghanistan. those goals were in keeping with the december 2001 bond agreement. the united states and international community have helped -- pledged to promote lasting peace, respectability for human rights in the country. nearly 11 years later amid a labor -- amid a daily parade of reports citing human-rights violations and rampant parity in large-scale corruption, afghanistan continues to face serious obstacles. what went wrong?
typically here is one of two responses. the first is that president george w. bush squandered america's quick and easy victory. but both committee and insufficient number of troops in the beginning and redirecting our energies to iraq, he enabled the top and to resurface. the second explanation for what went wrong was the president barack obama correctly shifted america's focus back to afghanistan but failed to solely resource submissions for any comment involvement -- for any combat involvement. the project to create a viable, centralized government may have been the moved to failure from the very beginning. proceduralped up in questions about planning and execution. we really challenge the underlying source -- the underlying assumption that we could ever promote
reconciliation, lasting peace, or build a capable government. in addition to what seems to be vulnerabilities in afghanistan, president obama release that establishing rule of law, a growing economy, eliminating corruption, and resolve a dispute was somehow prevent another terrorist attack on american soil. rebuilding afghanistan to cure the problem of terrorism is fallacious, costly, -- states has pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into the world topos poorest economies. we created winners and losers by enriching petty elites. with militants profiting from construction projects to protection rackets. the notion that enhance and political reform in afghanistan increases u.s. national security also fails to address the much
simpler question -- even if the tally ban reconquered afghanistan and invited al qaeda back, how much threat with that post to the united states? can that be addressed without a costly multi decade campaign? to help us answer these questions and the ultimate question of what went wrong i am pleased to have on the dais with me a distinguished panel of experts school will provide a broad section of commune. first we have seen a course on an associate editor of "the washington post." from 2009 to 2011 he traveled extensively through the southern provinces to reveal the impact of president barack obama's decision to increase troop levels. he is also author of " the imperial lysing the city pico a firsthand account of life inside baghdad and the effort of america to reconstruct iraq.
our next speaker will be the director of the grant international security and policy center. after the terrorist activities of september 11, he was tasked with putting together and installing a task force for the taliban regime. he helped establish the new afghan government and on september 16, 2001 he raised the flag over the newly reopened u.s. embassy. he helped on the stabilization and reconstruction of bosnia and the nato intervention in kosovo. our final speaker is an award- winning historian, associate professor of history and director of the military history program at west point. this article appeared in the
world politics review first exposed the growing risk among military intellectuals about the growing -- u.s.'s conventional capabilities. ofwas among a small group dissident officers and defense analysts who questioned the necessity and efficacy of using counterinsurgency in afghanistan to destroy al qaeda. his forthcoming book draws on his experiences of the combat battalion commander in iraq. with that a turn at the podium over. >> thank you for that kind introduction. my apologies to all of you who might have come expecting a pointed debate between the cato analyst and the "washington post" editor. there are many points of agreement. what went wrong that go where start, with afghanistan.
if we look at 2001-2009 time frame, the common criticism is that the u.s. took its eye off the ball in afghanistan to focus on iraq. that is true. i am not about to support the iraq war. but there were more critical mistakes made by washington that were only tangentially related to the invasion of iraq. the first was the afghan constitution. in the name of fighting corruption and promoting modernization, it centralized power in kabul to an absurd degree. karzai had the ability to hire and fire governors and police chiefs. the constitution aggregates power in the capital to a degree unseen in any other country on the planet. except save for north korea, perhaps. united states should have used its ample influence, this is not a criticism, but this is really a set of issues that occurred after his tenure.
but we should have used our ample influence in the early years of the war to push the afghans to change their constitution, drafted in a way that was more in keeping with the country's conditions of decentralization. our failure to do this enabled the framework for karzai and other political elite, look, they are, warlords, to establish what they did. the second is our failure to help karzai in the early days. in 2002, president karzai did try to do the right thing. he wanted to take on the warlords and establish a more technocratic government. when he asked washington to authorize a deployment of nato forces beyond kabul to other major afghan cities, youth told no. donald rumsfeld did not want to commit u.s. soldiers the country. when karzai as the u.s. military leader in 2002 for help to
remove a warlord turned governor in western afghanistan who was enriching himself through smuggling, karzai argued to washington that doing so was essential to establishing the authority of the central government. the request was rejected on the grounds that u.s. troops were not to engage in what was called green on green activity. even if one side was the president on who our nation was depending. since we were not going to provide the muscle to remove the warlords, karzai engaged over the following years, in a rational act of self- preservation. by the time we and our nato partners got wise about the damage the warlords were having across the country, karzai had moved into their camp. let's fast-forward to 2009. you know the stakes. obama campaigned on afghanistan being the good work. general stan mcchrystal told him that if it did not commit to a surge, the taliban would not be possible. you know what obama did. 30,000 more troops. but with a deadline.
the first troops would have to start coming home within two years, which he took from the military's own planning documents that promise that areas could be cleared of insurgents and turned over to afghan security forces within 18 haven't had for months. what went wrong e let's break it into two levels. the first a strategic. with the search the right decision. the second is operational. what the president signed off on about how well did the organs of his government implement his policy? for going to her veil in afghanistan, several things need to occur. the afghan government had to be a willing partner. the government had to be railing to crackdown on its own soil. the u.s. government had to commit troops and money for several years. the american people had to be patient enough or security to improve drastically. first, list about the afghan
government. theai never agreed with u.s. war strategy. even having a supported government, a fundamental prerequisite for counterinsurgency, we know most afghans have no great love for the taliban. they view them as the religious zealots that they are. turns out, they have no great love for their own government, either. karzai's government is filled with warlords and corrupt scoundrels. many of whom do not provide basic services to the population. of course, he answered washington has been coin. those connect institutions on the provincial capital and foreign up to the national capital, we can fix this mess. appealing idea. it was fundamentally flawed. that is because karzai has no interest in letting us succeed. if we did, it would disrupt his networks.
so he undercut reformers. and you slow rolled efforts to institutions of local governance. we americans naïvely assumed act in 2009 and 2010 that the failure to get civil servants down to the district is because of a lack of human capacity. sure, that was the problem, but the bigger problem was that karzai simply did not believe in the venture. he had his ministers interfere with the process even when the united states was footing the bill. pakistani government, after the leadership relocated to pakistan after the commencement of military action in afghanistan in 2001, they were given a degree of safe harbor. they were allowed to meet, reorganize. they could raise their own money and whatnot. they were not getting a lot of direct help. all that changed.
by late 2009, they were getting substantial amounts of money, intelligence and other material via civilian intermediaries. by one assessment, i spring of 2011, at least of all insurgent commanders were working closely with isi operatives. the price tag, was it worth it? $1 million to -- the annual tab for the war in 2010 was about $100 billion. to achieve a marginally less bad outcome in afghanistan worth that expense? the afghans often decided to hang back and let u.s. troops to be fighting. goodwas supposed to be a kick in the pence, or at least a golden opportunity to work intended with the americans, instead turned into a crutch. despite all those assumptions that turned out to be false,
our troops have made remarkable progress over the last two years. parts of southern afghanistan that were once teamed with insurgents are now largely peaceful. schools have reopened. people are living as close to a normal life as possible. but those changes, are they because of a troop surge or the result of the military's use of counterterrorism tactics advocated by vice president biden during the white house urged debate? and 2010 there was a huge increase in special operations. use of airstrikes also multiplied. in short, they got a gloves-off thrashing. will the afghans, their government, there are may come in their police force have the willingness and ability to take
the baton from american troops as we begin coming home. will they sustain the gains, all that blood and treasure we have extended have been worth it? i don't think they can roll back into kabul like they did in the 1990 of the afghan army fears to be better. the insurgents will control rural districts and valleys and retain the ability to contact frequent attacks. the for example future will be messy and chaotic. many americans may well see it as good enough. osama is dead, the leadership on the rope's, taliban has taken a beating. could we have achieved a similar outcome without hundreds more americans dead ? want to turn to have the search
was executed area of the strategic disconnect. i want address the operational failure. the search was the president's strategy and the government beneath them had to make the best efforts to and lamented. each department may critical errors. in the summer of 2009, the most at risk part of the country with the southern city of kandahar. theyey could've seized it, would have had a crucial foothold to take over much of the rest of the country. as they did in the 1990's. they were literally massing in the areas around kandahar. you think we would have devoted the bulk of that first wave of new troops into that area to protect it areas no. in send them up to the deserts, onto fewer than one percent of of afghanistan's population. why? tribal rivalries.
that in afghanistan, but the pentagon. that was composed of u.s. marines, they wanted to fight with their own aviation assets, intelligent assets, they needed their own patch of the sandbox. instead of working to integrate them with u.s. and canadian army unit our already operating there, talk commanders in kabul as well as top officials back in the pentagon suddenly chose the path of least resistance and give them a part of afghanistan not home to a lot of people. we should have been near a key population center. civilian surge was supposed to occur in tandem with the military surge. down there in field with our combat battalions to help provide government services to help engage in basic reconstruction.
the fed whether the whole notion of some national a good idea or not, it was the strategy. we were supposed to send individuals to work with our commanders. the civilian surge was about a year too late. the bulk of the people do not start flowing in until well after the first waves of military forces arrived areas the bulk of them wound up saying in the comfortable embassy compound in kabul with a swimming pool and bar, as opposed to getting out into the dangerous operating bases where they were desperately needed. some of this was a failure of imagination on the part of the screen the hiring of scouring the country for the right people to fill these jobs. they instead waited for resumes to come in. often from contractors who worked on wasteful projects in iraq could get more lucrative employment in afghanistan. yes, afghanistan has very dire needs. rates of malnutrition, it infant mortality, illiteracy, they are all off the charts. it is one of the poorest
countries on the planet. it was starved of assistance. there is such a thing of trying to do too much of a good thing. the best analogy is, think of afghanistan as a parched man on a hot day. he needs a tall glass of cold water. but the obama administration turned a firehose on afghanistan. ontried to spend $4 billion reconstruction projects in that country. it exceeded the capacity of the country. in districts of afghanistan, they have more money per capita -- then the per capita income every man woman and child in those places. very up trying to fuel the corruption we were trying to stem in kabul. lastly, the war within the war. in my travels back and forth, i discovered that it is not just
the fighting over there. there is also a huge degree of bureaucratic infighting in washington. the most pitched battle i came upon was that between the state department and the white house over the subject of reconciliation with the taliban. there was no substantive policy disagreement. the state and the white house both favored trying to lay a framework to get to negotiations with the taliban. thisning that the only way conflict would end was across the negotiating table. state's point man for this was richard holbrook. she was also a guy with really sharp elbows, a big ego and a dramatic personality. did not go down so well in the white house with the president named no drama obama.
scheduled two meetings when he was out of town, deny him the use of aircraft. wed a bottom line here, squandered first year of the search. the year we had the most leverage. we squandered the best opportunity we had to try and chart a path toward possible peace talks with the taliban because senior officials in washington are far more consumed with fighting with one another than growing in tandem to try and get to the right objective area and in closing, what should the president done in 2009? i do not think we should've packed up and left. had we done that, or if we do that today, it would likely condemn the afghans to the hell of a prolonged insurgency or another civil war. we still have a moral obligation to the afghan people. we launched the war in 2001 and made a promise to them that if they stood with us against the taliban, we would give them a shot at a better, freer life. that did not require a strategy and search that tired so.
ae of the main characters is state department officer named cale weston. he argued that instead of going big with a surge or packing up and going home, we americans should have gone long. he needed to determine how many troops he was willing to commit to afghanistan, perhaps for 10 years, and then pledge that level of support the afghan people. that would've meant no surge, troop reductions back into jackson nine. cale weston was convinced that it would've been better. it would compel the afghan army to more quickly assume responsibility. it would for the americans to focus only on the most essential missions instead of grand nationbuilding project. afghanistan he told me, is a marathon, not a sprint. the surge was a sprint and we got winded too quickly.
it is much harder to say no. thank you. [applause] >> thanks for inviting me. there is a good deal of agreement between myself and the previous speakers. i have a somewhat different emphasis. glasseso look at most as half-full. i do want to get to what we have done wrong and what went wrong in afghanistan. it might be useful just to start off with what has gone right. since 2001, afghanistan's gdp has gone up five times. in 2001 there were 700,000
children in school, today there are 8 million. about a third are girls. there are even 77,000 university students. literacy, which was around 15% in 2001 is already up at the five percent. 10 years from now, more than half of afghans be able to read and write areas 80% in 20 years. currentlyof afghans have access to very basic healthcare. the result is that longevity has gone up from 44 years life expectancy in 2001 to 60 years life expectancy today. women dying in childbirth has been reduced by 80%. child mortality is down by 44%. afghans have access to a vibrant and numerous media. hundreds of radio stations,
dozens of private tv stations. about 60% of afghans today have access to television in some way. 95% listen to the radio. remarkably, given that no afghans had a telephone into thousand one, two thirds of afghan households currently have telephones. the result is, an afghan public more optimistic about their future than we can to be about their future. there are a lot more optimistic about their future than we are about our future. [laughter] the recent recent opinion poll, 52% of afghans caught that the future would be better and tasks and and better than their current situation. if you ask the afghans the classic ronald reagan question, are you better off today than you were four years ago? 53% of them say yes.
nina did state's is about 15%. they have high degrees of confidence in their army. government, 75%. the same polls show very high degrees of concern about corruption. and very clear criticisms of the government. we started off by listing our aspirations for afghanistan in very broad terms. if you always measured achievement by aspiration, he would almost always come up short. 10 years after the american revolution you would have to declare it a failure. we hadn't created a society of the central promise of the declaration of independence which was that all men were created equal. that took us 100 years to get
rid of slavery and 150 to get women to vote. we are still fighting over some of these basic issues of equality today. of we have not met many those aspirations. we just finished a study where we took 20 societies in which there have been military interventions of a peace enforcement sort since the end of the cold war. all the big ones, but a dozen or more smaller u.n. peacekeeping operations. we measured is over a ten-year period everym house rates country in the world every year, give them a numerical rating. we used u.n. development apparatus for education and standard of living in the country.
the world and gratings for government effectiveness. how effective with the government? and imf figures for economic growth. growth these 20 societies where there is a military interventions and post-conflict environments. of the 20 oh afghanistan was in the middle. in terms of economic growth, it was second from the top. effectiveness, remarkably it was from the top. these are rates of improvement, not absolute achievement. in human development, it was the top of all 20 countries. there have been things that have gone right in afghanistan. of those 20 societies, 16 are at ease today. 16 of those 20 interventions
succeeded in bringing enduring peace in afghanistan is one of the ones that didn't. that is the central failure in any kind of peace operation. in the 1990's and the clinton administration, we learn something about nationbuilding post conflict intervention, reconstruction, stabilization of operations, whatever terminology you want to use. the basically learned three big lessons. particularly after the initial failure in somalia which was a complete catastrophe. lesson one was, go in big. don't dribble your forces in. don't be incremental. deploy an impressive peacekeeping force. cybersecurity and then draw the force down once you deter the emergence of any violent resistance.
in the aftermath of a conflict, the indigenous and contusions will have been disintegrated or discredited or totally destroyed. as a result, the intervening party will have to assume responsibility for public safety. for some interval. until indigenous institutions can be restored and takeover. thirdly, you need to involve the neighboring societies in your project area did not in the piece being elements, but in the political aspects of the project. if they feel that your project, the society you are trying to build or rebuild is not in their interest, they will have, by reason of their proximity, either commercial, familial, religious, ideological connections the ability to subvert your effort. the classic case of that is only
brought peace to bosnia. we invited milsevic -- we invited the two leaders to that peace conference. if we took the view that we were worker medals, they would still be fighting in bosnia. this is a classic case of making sure the neighbors are brought in. the bush administration came into office. they were in opposition throughout the 90's. they opposed all of the clinton interventions. they criticized them and the whole project of nationbuilding. during the three debates that gore and bush have leading up to the presidential election, the only discussion that they had to discuss was nationbuilding. he'ser or not to send
keeping forces into post- conflict societies. bush said he was not going to do this anymore. then in his first three years, he invaded three new countries. he went into afghanistan in 2001, iraq in 2003. in 2004 u.s. troops went back into haiti. they felt compelled to do nationbuilding, even though they didn't call it that, even though they promised not to do it. they were determined to do it differently. they were not going to learn any of the lessons that the clinton administration had sort. they were going to approach this differently. don rumsfeld explained what he called the small footprint approach to nationbuilding i arguing that in having flooded bosnia and kosovo with international manpower and economic assistance, we may does to societies, turns them
into permanent wards of the international community. we were going to avoid doing that in afghanistan and iraq by minimizing those commitments. by putting in the smallest number of men and smallest amount of money possible. so they would become self- sufficient more quickly. this was a transposition of may 1990's debate over u.s. welfare reform. havenalogy could not proved more inapt. the strategy of reinforcing only under failure, making a minimal commitment among then raising it only one your initial commitment shown to be inadequate. when facing defeat on the battlefield, turned out to be a terrible way of resourcing. and a vastly more expensive way of resourcing needs. the first mistake was inadequately resourcing afghanistan. if you compare initial
resources for bosnia and afghanistan, the average bosnian in the first couple of years after the war got $800 a year in international assistance. afghanistan, $50 figure. bosnia got 16 times more. if you look at the security forces, the number is even more striking. you -- at the end of 2002, we had 8000 american troops in afghanistan, a society of 50 million people. the size of the stabilization force in bosnia was 50 times bigger than the size of the stabilization force in afghanistan for the first couple of years. lowest level of resource commitment of any american post-
conflict reconstruction effort since 1945. second, we had a strong international coalition going into afghanistan in 2001. pakistan withdrew its support for the taliban. iran cooperated with us quite closely in the diplomacy leading to the creation of a new afghan government and offered further assistance in the aftermath of the installation of the karzai government. administration's response was to put iran on the axis of evil list and allow the pakistanis to resume their assistance to the taliban. we ignored lesson two. publics of establishing security, the bush administration took the position that u.s. troops in afghanistan would do no peacekeeping and neither would anybody else. they allowed a small peacekeeping force to go into
kabul. they refused pleas from karzai and the u.n. and to the position that u.s. troops would not to peacekeeping. the result was, we turned security throughout a society of 70 million people to the afghans, a society that had no army and no police force. i think it is not remarkable that things deteriorated. the taliban was able to reconstitute itself, to recruit, refinance, reorganize and begin to project power from pakistani sanctuaries back into afghanistan. and the united states responded in dribs and drabs over the years. we tend to say that this is the longest war we have ever fought. if you look at the major wars, it is also the least costly in terms of military manpower.
the level of casualties in afghanistan is not only smaller than iraq, but much smaller than vietnam or korea or world war i or two. as a practical matter, the serious fighting is only gone on for the last 4-5 years. you did another study looking at the prospects of winning a counterinsurgency. there are a number of elements that have to be in place to give you a reasonable prospect. thoseou have all of elements in place, which are not just resource elements, it usually takes about seven years for them to actually turn the tide and begin to definitively defeat the enemy. i don't think anybody would argue we have those almonds in place before 2009-2010 in afghanistan.
you have to put in some perspective that this was the longest war. we are getting tired and we have to leave. things have gone wrong. i don't disagree with the more tactical points that he made about deficiencies in the surge. staythink we need to committed in afghanistan. we are going to be committed at much lower levels of manpower and money. i think the intent is to have reduced the force to something like 8000-15,000. the more lower level being more likely. think a continued commitment of that sort is going to be necessary.
i don't see -- there are several transitions coming in 2014. one of the transition from american combat operations to afghan combat operations. the other transition is from karzai lead afghanistan to somebody else. the second is by far more delicate and more difficult. to afghan army is not going run away in 2014. the afghan government could begin to disintegrate if the elections go badly. if they are indecisive, if they are divisive rather than bringing the country together. assuming those go reasonably well, i believe the kind of progress that we have seen and i have suggested from the statistics can be sustained. [applause] >> thanks to the cato institute for putting the panel together.
i have to start off with a disclaimer that says the views that i am about to present to you are mine and not necessarily those of the u.s. government or the department of defense. having said that, i am serving army colonel and i teach history at west point. i consider myself to be a student of history. i would like to start off with some history. to talk about the american war in vietnam and pose this question of what went wrong in afghanistan, to the question that people were asking, shortly after the united states lost its first four to vietnam. -- war in vietnam as to what went wrong with the war in vietnam, and why did the united states lose?
what came to be understood is that the reason why -- the right answer for what went wrong in vietnam is that the united dates lost the war because it failed at strategy. strategy in the vietnam war should have discerned early on that the war was unwinnable, based on a moral and material costs that the american people were willing to pay. strategy also failed to appreciate in the post-world war ii world the very real limits of american military power and what it could accomplish when it tried to do nationbuilding at the barrel of a gun. and also, what i think strategy failed to understand, especially the military side, was the mistaken belief that in any war that the united state commits itself to, is that any military power war will work as long as
the operations are done correctly. these were the real license that -- lesonsons that came out of the vietnam and answered the question, what went wrong. what went wrong was a failure of u.s. strategy. this basic insight into what went wrong in vietnam, namely that the united states failed strategy, started to get buried by a different explanation that said, went wrong in vietnam was the way the war was fought. in this line of thinking, united states lost the war in vietnam not because strategy or policy right, but because it didn't fight the war in the correct way. there is a big difference there.
the way the war was fought. the first make this argument was an army colonel in 1982, in a book called "on strategy." a few years later, in 1988, and opposites arguments, but still the same coin, although a different side, was starting to be put forward. this was first laid out by the book called "the army in vietnam." like the army colonel, itcould have been won if fought correctly, was his opinion. he argued that if the u.s. had not focused on heavy use of
firepower and instead concentrated on winning the hearts and minds of the self vietnam people, or done in counterinsurgency correctly, the war could've been one. -- won. in the 1990's this explanation becomes a prominent one. it is shown in many books. the reason i start with this vietnam analogy because out of this explanation comes a story. that was built around counterinsurgency or for. -- wa rfare. call it a narrative. it says that counterinsurgency wars, or the war in iraq or the war in afghanistan can be one as -- won as long as the army and the military fights it correctly and the way it fights it correctly is by bringing better generals on board to transform their armies and get them doing the process, the procedures, and the
tactics of counterinsurgency correctly. which brings us to iraq in 2006. after three bloody years of american occupation, people started to ask the same question again. what went wrong? the answer becomes bad tactics and generals. the solution is get a savior general on board, and he soon arrives on the scene, general,-- general david petraeus, with the surge of troops, turn the army around, do the tactics correctly and the war could be aut on a path to success. lowered level of violence, this had to do with a lot of other things. his belief that by turning the tactical approach of the army
around is done by a savior general, this kind of thing could put these wars of counterinsurgency on the path to success. which then brings us to the war in afghanistan in 2009. people ask again, we have been here since 2002, and now it is 2009, what has gone wrong? again we get the same answer. bad tactics, bad generals. the answer is to tweak the tactics, get the army to do counterinsurgency correctly, bring an enlightened general on board, this time it was stanley mcchrystal, and we will be on the path to success. the solution in afghanistan, i think, these are my views, just like in vietnam and iraq thomas -- iraq, has never been about the tactical use of military force or better generals replacing bad generals.
the answer to the question -- what has gone wrong is the strategy. let me define what i mean. it is informed by -- it is a simple explanation, but it think it is useful. in war, strategy sits in the middle of two other planes. on this side is policy, puts war in place, and over here are the resources of war. if strategy is gone right, it looks to policy to see with the -- what the purpose of the war is for and then it applies to resources of war to achieve policy aims with the least amount of blood and treasure spent to achieve that policy aim. when i say strategy, that is the definition i am using. u.s. strategy in afghanistan has been botched from the start.
not from 2009, but all the way back to 2002 when we committed ourselves to a nationbuilding campaign. the core policy for the united states and afghanistan -- is a core policy, i mean, what is the primary purpose for the united states military in afghanistan? core policy in afghanistan as stated by senior generals, secretaries of state, secretaries of defense, both presidents -- i have gone through and read the unclassified testimony to both the house armed services, senate armed services, from 2002 all the way up to the present. when commanding general's, under secretaries of defense, whomever, were asked by senators or congressmen, what are we doing in afghanistan? why are we there? the answer is always the
destruction of al qaeda. period. period. the destruction of al qaeda. this is a very, very limited core policy aim. since 2002, the united states has sought to use a maximalist operational method called armed nationbuilding which is the same as counterinsurgency. to achieve this limited core policy aim. i ask myself why. i think it is because of this rocksolid belief that war can always be made to work.american war. you see why this narrative is so important and so dangerous? the war in this view can always be made to work as long as the tactics are tweaked and the better general is brought into place.
it has also become very hard to break out of this idea that the only way to achieve our limited core policy is by nationbuilding. and this moral commitment.some cf ost. with that, how are we ever going to be able to stand back and look at this objectively and ask, what is the right approach or the right strategy for the united states to have taken in afghanistan? in my view, strategy has not worked. in iraq, in afghanistan, and let's look at the cost very quickly. you have to look at both of these together. first with iraq. ambassador dobbin mentioned some of the better things that have come out of the war in afghanistan. let me set that within another set of figures. with iraq, after 8.8 years of war, 4480 six americans killed, thousands more with life- changing wounds.
depending on which estimate you want to take, close to 3 trillion american dollars spent. iraq itself, close to a quarter of a million iraqis killed. that many more are seriously wounded or close to a million displaced from their homes, very few have returned. we replaced one strong-arm later with another. this one is allied closely with our regional adversary, iran. then we look at afghanistan. close to 2200 americans killed. that many more seriously wounded. close to $1 trillion spent. tens of thousands of afghans killed. i've asked myself this hypothetical, just to try to set in context what these wars have costs relative to what we have achieved. if the united states and gone-- had gone into iraq like it did in 2003
and in afghanistan in 2002, and then left, would the cost of the war been any worse than what actually happened between 2003- 2011 in iraq and still ongoing in afghanistan. the famous british strategist said in the 1930's, the object of war is a better state of these. with this data i laid out, how can we say that american war is worth it in afghanistan and iraq? not to say that we have not achieved tactical success. i can point to success in my own cavalries out in 2006, can others. -- as can others. in all of this, tactical success is supposed to lead up to something. with that, i will close by
posing a derivative question to the one of what went wrong in afghanistan and i will ask this question -- where is the better peace that this decade of two costly wars in iraq and afghanistan? where is it, this better piece-- peace that was supposed to have been produced? [applause] >> thank you so much to our speakers. i will begin with a question. just for the panel. you can decide who wants to go first. do you think the lesson is not that we should be relearning the lessons of counterinsurgency and nationbuilding and knowing how best to set up reconstruction operations and development programs, maybe the lesson is to avoid the sorts of conflicts?
we have the finest littering the world, we can make these choices. we have routinely found ourselves in these situations. would anybody like to -- this is a strategy question, not tactical. you can answer from your seats. >> i think it tends to be somewhat situationally dependent. punitive strikes can dissuade -- or the threat of punitive strikes not followed up by any further intervention can dissuade, punish or deter governments perpetrating certain acts. punitive strikes cannot stop genocide. we can't stop nuclear proliferation. they can't stop civil wars. they can't stop terrorists.
pure punitive strikes as a way of punishing regimes you don't like have limited utility. if you are not going to take responsibility for shaping the post-conflict environments in ways that improve it over the pre-conflict environment and you -- then you are likely to have at most, a very short-lived success. john asked, what would afghanistan have been like if we left? i think the answer is easy. it would have been like it was in the early 1990's. when 5 millions of afghans fled afghanistan. the level of conflict was much higher than at any point in the last 10 years areas you would-- 10 years. you would have returned to a sectarian conflict between
people from uzbekistan. the taliban would have become the dominant force in the country. although probably not controlling all of it. the taliban remains today, allied with al qaeda, close links with al qaeda. al qaeda would have been able to reestablish itself. the united states would not be doing drone strikes. it would not have any place to base those assets. i think it is easy to say what would have happened in afghanistan if we had simply conducted our punitive attack on taliban. routed them, and then left the country. >> are those the missions we should be fighting?
>> one should not take for my talk an isolationist view. maybe we should be involved in this kind of things. what we should ask ourselves at the beginning is, what will the cost of military intervention be? what is the likelihood of success? and have an honest discussion of what it will cost and in so applying military force in the process of doing that, which produces actions, reactions, counter actions, will the ,rocess of using military force would it have been worth it in the first place when we talked about this decision, whether or not to go in? i also think that, there has come to be almost this rule that says when the united states intervenes militarily for
whatever reason, the rule says it has to stay and fix it. i think that is a dangerous proposition. if that is the case, it seems to me that it commits the united states to perpetual, never- ending wars of nationbuilding like we have done in iraq and are continuing to do in afghanistan. >> i tend to view the coin a little like nuclear weapons. something that we need to have as part of the arsenal, but given its cost, we should not be out using it all that often. with regard to the early bird in the afghan war, we also look at the early period in iraq. we seriously under-balled the cost.
by thinking you could engage in this and trying to build a more stable, new administration in countries like that and do some modest reconstruction. with a light footprint. you can't do that. i think iraq and afghanistan are clear lessons of that argument. these sorts of interventions are incredibly expensive and costly in terms of lives as well. it is incumbent to have that honest discussion up front as opposed to trying to go in with the small footprint, trying to convince the american people that you can do this on the cheap, if there is an enduring lesson from both of these endeavors, it can't be done on the cheap. you have to have an honest discussion about the cost.
all that said, i don't think we should look at a nationbuilding skill set and say, because these things are expensive, because we hope we will never have to fight another land war in asia again, we should just not train, not develop that capacity. it is an important capacity to have. there is a danger, partilarly among the civilian agencies and ougovernment, a narrative taking hold that the civilian surge in both iraq and afghanistan worked brilliantly. the truth is far from that. it needs to be honest. an honest lessons learned process. a capacity that is further build up and refined. one i hope we will never have to use, but we have there if necessary. >> could i just add -- i agree entirely with both the speakers that we need an honest debate before we engage in these interventions, but a well informed debate. and an effort to accurately
predict the likely costs. if we had done that before we went into iraq, we would not have invaded. the american people would never have sanction the invasion of iraq if they had any idea of what it was likely to cost and it was likely to cost and achive. if we had that kind of cost and achieve. if we had that kind of debate in 2001, we would've gone into afghanistan, anyway. we would not have been wrong to do so. it is also not true that these operations are always costly. we did not lose a single person in haiti, or a single soldier or airman in kosovo. or bosnia. about 20 international interventions since 1989, of which produced enduring peace. most of those took no casualties and spent their little money. -- spent very little money.
>> sometimes we make too much of this notion of special skills required to do these kinds of operations. especially at the small unit level. a well-trained military unit can do these kinds of operations. with this ongoing focus on lessons learned, figuring out what we did wrong tactically, it takes the important attention away from what is most important in these kinds of wars. it is not the tactics of doing them. this idea of special skills. it is what ambassador dobbins said. at the beginning of these wars wars, the strategy and the policy that puts them and lace in the first place. -- in place in the first place. that is what iraq and afghanistan has turned on. not whether or not the army didn't have the right manual in 2003 than in 2006. >> we will open up the questions
to the audience. ask in the form of a question and give your name and credentials. gentleman in the back. >> my name is [indiscernible] i am currently a 2013 fellow in the south asia program. my doctoral research was on afghanistan. i agree that there have been a lot of problems. i will put this in the form of a question. there was a dire lack of understanding, the link just between tribes, power bases, and how karzai is utilizing different tribal bases, tribal families, groups to maintain himself. it is not a bad thing in itself
that he is trying to do, maintain power in the country. any leader would want to do that. it is the same dynamic overall. it is done here. i find that the united states entirely misunderstood afghan society, which does not work. it has been the case in the 1920s, when they tried to implement drastic reforms, and disaffected a large section of the population which resulted in a war as well. this was the case again. culturally sensitive approaches are more appropriate rather than implementing [indiscernible] -- western oriented actions or models. more importantly, what would happen in the future? things have gone wrong, what would happen in the future? will it fall into a civil war, like you said ?
is that good for society or neighboring nations? >> country specific context, operating in different culture, , fferent environment different norms? is that something that you also noticed in your research of these various countries? adapting international standards, gender equality, economic and military policies? -- monetary policies? >> i think some understanding of local cultures is very important, but again, just going back to the study of 20 different -- the purpose of that study was to determine what kind of local cultural and ethnic factors influence the outcome is -- outcomes in these 20 different interventions and levels of success. and was it was homogeneity of the society, all of those things.
we found out most of those things had no correlation with outcomes, that the things that had the most correlation with outcomes were, first of all, whether the intervention took place on the basis of a peace agreement and peacekeeping or whether it took place on the basis of invasion. that was one of the two dominant differentiators, if you will. the other two factors were basically, one, could you convert neighboring countries from malign to benign policies? if neighboring countries would stop supporting contesting factions, stop feeding the conflict, put convergent pressures on indigenous actors to come together rather than fight, you almost always succeed. so geopolitics was more
important than cultural sensitivity. it was getting the neighboring countries to stop feeding the conflict and began adopting benign, helpful policies. the second was co-opting the contending patronage networks in the country into collaboration. it would still be patronage networks. they would still extract wealth from the society, but it would not kill each other to do it. in some societies, these are organized tribally, by religion, in some cases geographically, other sectarian or religious affiliations to find a patronage networks, but if you get the patronage networks to stop killing each other and enter into some sort of collaboration, again, you almost always produce peace, and that almost always leads to some degree of economic growth and improvement of the life of citizens.
>> i agree with what ambassador dobbins just said. that is the point i make in these wars like iraq and afghanistan, there really turned like in the american military, this whole notion of cultural understanding? -- understanding, it has almost become almost weaponized. if you understand the local culture and all that in falls,-- involves, somehow at that level you will be successful and produce a better or good war. but these were still not turn on those kinds of things. they turn on the issues the ambassador just mentioned. for the united states, within all that, we should be asking whether it is in our interest at the beginning of it to intervene in those very things in the first place. >> just to dovetail with that,
taking a realistic approach of u.s. interests, wouldn't it be best for terrorists to have haven in failed states? failed governments? we would not want terrorists to congregate and pakistan or malaysia or germany. we would want somalia, yemen, afghanistan. should we be changing our failedh? -- approach to states? >> no. [laughter] no, you want terrorists to congregate in areas where the affected governments can suppress their activity. you don't want them to be left free to organize. and you don't want them to use the state, diplomatic pouches, the banking system freely. the reason is better to have al qaeda in pakistan and afghanistan is because in pakistan, they're not allied with the pakistani government. the pakistani government, while the supporting the taliban, it is not supporting al qaeda.
it is prepared to give us targets that we can strike with drones, it is willing to pick they areal qaeda people. prepared to go after arabs, just not afghans. so what you dealt what ought, the problem with afghanistan, before al qaeda had hijacked aircraft three aircraft from the that states, they had hijacked the whole country and government, called afghanistan, and that is not what you want to replicate. >> anyone else? >> building on that, i totally agree. but then taking the whole surge debate in afghanistan, the argument advanced by the military was you had to build up an afghan state that was strong enough, a government strong enough with security forces strong enough to resist the return of al qaeda operatives from pakistan into afghanistan. and if we did not surge and pour in the resources, the significant elements of the cut would go back into afghanistan.
-- al qaeda would go back into afghanistan. i think what we have seen is that is a little bit of a fallacy. al qaeda might be doing completely irrational things, but at their core there are rational actors. if the cost of doing business in afghanistan is incrementally higher than it is in pakistan, they will not come back in large numbers. the government takes action against them and provides us with intelligence, certainly for those who were still around, pakistan has been a more hospitable place for them to operate and afghanistan. -- than afghanistan. to keep the cost up in afghanistan did not require 100,000 u.s. troops. a couple of special operations task forces, coupled with other sorts of assets, could probably have made the cost of doing business in afghanistan incrementally greater than pakistan, dissuading significant
numbers of them from crossing over the border. >> we can stop doing counterinsurgency in afghanistan and start doing counter- terrorism as long as the afghan government does counterinsurgency. it is not that counterinsurgency does not work in afghanistan, it is just too expensive to do. -- do with americans. a million dollars per american is too much. we need to do it more cheaply. >> the afghans can figure out which parts of the three make-- country makes sense to tackle first, with american support, as opposed to us doing it entirely for them. >> real quickly, why did it take us, what, from 2002 until today, 11, 12 years to figure that out? >> you did not have an afghan government in 2002 that could have done that. >> for the next question, i want to recommend that it is concise. the gentleman in the back?
>> gordon johnson. my only experience and your is post military work in the marshall plan, which is a very different situation. my question is you have not talked about perhaps the biggest difficulty we have created for ourselves in setting a deadline when we would leave. if we are going to go in, the calculation it should seem to require support of the local people. if vietnam is the lesson for leaving the local people, we leave any people who would support, will be before we showed. bush had a terrible time with the democrats saying you have to get out, you have to get out. and in a sense, how can you negotiate with the taliban if he -- you tell them you are leaving in 2014, when the only thing they
care about is when you going to leave. so if you going to get the support of the local people, we cannot set a deadline to leave, but if we don't set a deadline to leave, how we take care of the american people? it goes back again to vietnam and the minister in williamsburg who asked lyndon johnson, tell me, what are we there? -- why are we there? is it not there for a requirement to not only get the support of the local people, we have to explain to the american people better the job of why we are there in order not to give them a deadline to get out. but the deadline to get out, seems to me, has been one of our biggest mistakes. >> so the deadline and also speaking to two audiences. >> i don't -- comment on a couple of those things. compared to vietnam, at least in a moral way, the american people are not connected to these wars. they were during the vietnam war because there was a draft.
personally, i don't think the draft is the answer. i think a less more ambitious foreign-policy and a foreign policy that is premised on the notion of limits to what american military power can accomplish, i think that is the answer. i don't think over these last 10 years of war the american people have been morally connected to these two wars like a war with regard to vietnam. the other point about time and how long these kinds of wars take, you are right, and original strategy is to use nation-building and counterinsurgency, if that is to achieve the policy aim, a rational strategy would say and come out front and be honest about it that if we're going to apply our nation building to keep al qaeda at bay in afghanistan, then it is going to take a long time and it is not
going to take 18 months or eight years or 18 years. we're talking about a multi generational effort. then my point in my talk all along is if we're doing strategy right, the way i explained, especially with regard to afghanistan, we have this limited corps policy aim which is the destruction of al qaeda, which was pretty much accomplished by early 2002. why did we need to put into place this huge operational framework that committed us to a decade of war, trillions in blood and treasure, to achieve that limited corps policy? -- core policy aim? that is why i think our strategy from the beginning has been botched. >> first of all, we are not leaving afghanistan. the president has not committed to withdraw but drawdown. he will leave some residual troop presence there after 2015 and beyond in order to support, enable, train afghan forces.
in 2002, afghanistan had no army or police force. today it has an army of three of 50,000 men, as a police force of about 250,000 men, and by regional standards they're not bad. it is a question of for they can with a minimal american -- oftment of trading and whether they can with a nminimal american commitment of training and financial support continue to resist the taliban. but unlike vietnam, pakistan is not going to invade afghanistan. in vietnam, the u.s. left, but the south vietnamese government did not fall. then we cut off all financial and military assistance and it fell, but it fell largely because north vietnam invaded, not because the indigenous insurgency overthrew them. that is not going to happen in afghanistan. >> we can all agree it is a high likelihood we are not leaving afghanistan. pardon some afghans, though, for
being a little confused on this when a white house official raises the possibility of zero troop option, and options are put forth of maybe just a few hundred troops post-2014. that ambiguity that exists here in the policy debate gets multiplied several fold over as it echoes across the world. the way that you build public support is that you talk about these wars. political leaders are not talking about afghanistan. look at the 2012 campaign. neither obama nor romney said much about the war. if you want to build public support for it, you at least have to say, bush talked about iraq and a lot, but remember the - a lot, but in the
early days post 9/11, we were all told to go shopping is the best thing to do to help support the effort, the fight against terrorism. but just with regard to the deadline, the specific question, if you want to mount up a full 1 -- full-on comprehensive counterinsurgency campaign, yes, a deadline does not make sense. it is counterproductive. but let's say the president, a young president who is skeptical of a counterinsurgency strategy, does not really want to surge, but kind of feels boxed in by his military commanders who don't really give him much of another option, but recognizes that to get to the point where you get the afghans belong the counterinsurgency fight themselves, the need to create a little white space, you need to beat back the taliban, and then you could move to a security force assistance mission. then perhaps a deadline make
sense and you say, all right, military, you want to fight this, i will let you do that because what it's going to do over the short term is beat back the insurgents, and then i can push you to shift the focus of the mission perhaps faster than you might otherwise want to get to a point where we have fewer american boots on the ground. looked at that way, then a deadline becomes perhaps more rational. >> wow, so many to choose from. ben freeman in the far back? oh, the gentleman behind him? sorry. >> ben freeman from cato. i agree that counter-terrorism does not necessarily require
counterinsurgency, but once we're doing counterinsurgency, it seems in the united states there is one model. it seems like in the history of counterinsurgency, not just in the u.s. but around the world, there are a lot of different models, many of which require co-opting insurgents. like in pakistan, where there are regions of the country, or even india, where they have had a fair amount of autonomy and have rebels or would-be rebels. it seemed like we have done in these two wars is not necessarily always consistent with state building and to the extent we have been successful, it often requires it co-opting insurgents by buying them off or letting them to have a big part of the country so they did not become uncertain the first place. afghanistan, i am not an expert, but it appears particularly ill suited for a traditional monopolization of violence, build out the central state type of model. it seems like that makes us a
revolutionary power because we are overthrowing local authority structures, arguably creating resistance to the central state. when the ambassador mentioned these 20 countries, 20 efforts, 20 state building efforts, is there one model of success? might there be one strategy for bosnia that is different from the right strategy for afghanistan, assuming we are there? >> first of all, the best way of marginalizing extremist groups in an insurgency is to support the insurgents, not to counter them, if you can afford to do that. because there is no insurgent in the world who would rather have -- would not rather have the american support than al qaeda's if they have that
choice. so we have muslim insurgency is in bosnia, kosovo, we support it and insists the in afghanistan in 2001. we supported muslim insurgents in iraq, in the iraq awakening by co-opting the iraqi insurgents, the sunni insurgents and offering them protection. yes, that is certainly a viable tactic. there are cases in which you cannot afford to do that, or the insurgents will not come over. we offered the taliban the option of handing over bin laden after the 9/11 attacks, in which case we promised not to attack them, not to invade their country, not to overthrow them, and they refused. that option did not work in that case. more generally, i expect john and i will disagree somewhat on the utility. successful counter insurgency requires a variety of different tactical and strategic approaches. you have to put a lot of different things in place to have success.
obviously, it is differentiated from society to society, the situation to situation to some degree. but the successful counterinsurgency practices tend to run in packs, they tend to coalesce. when they do coalesce, they usually succeed. and bad practices usually lead to failure if they are pursued continuously. >> a couple of quick points, to ben and what the ambassador said. you cannot find a historical case where american-stop-- style counterinsurgency, field manual three-24, which is the same as state building, the lines of an effort within the field manual are about building local governments, national governments, the economy, infrastructure, military forces, all kinds of things. you cannot find a case in history where armed nations -- this kind of policy carried out by foreign occupying power has worked.
the united states lost in vietnam because it failed its strategy, nor can use this kind of counterinsurgency to explain or use it as the main positive-- causative factor as to why violence dropped interact by the end of end of 2007.by the the premise, to the question, there are different ways of countering insurgency. and i agree with the ambassador there should be a variety of tasks or math it's the united-- methods that the united states has when it decides to use military force to counter insurgency. the problem with american counterinsurgency today, as it was laid out in the field manual 3-24, which became elevated to the level of strategy, policymakers using the language, there really is not any variety.
there is only one way to go about doing it. that is sort of the operational methods. this is what they're talking about. for the american military in 2009, when there was a legitimate, when there was an attempt at a strategic debate in afghanistan, there really was not a debate at all. this is one of the main points he brings out in his excellent book, "little america." and there was not a debate because there was only one way to go about achieving the corps policy aim, which was american counterinsurgency, premised on the idea that general petraeus and the surge force made it work in iraq. this is the problem we have. if strategy is going to look at the world, maybe we want to use military force to counter an insurgency or do with instability or whatever, at least the way it is now we don't have a variety of methods. we only have one. and it is called american
counterinsurgency, a.k.a. armed nation-building. >> insurgency were using effective counterinsurgency techniques in el salvador in the 1980's, columbia more recently. by and large, the kind of techniques and tactics described in the american field manual were consistent with those campaigns. they were not conducted donnelly -- conducted totally by americans, but they were supported and advised by americans. >> the gentleman who initially stood up the first time? >> hi, bob shadler. thank you very much. you demonstrate impressively, informed, highly intelligent, but i would like to ask you to address a different framework. we the people were onboard for
the first afghan war because of three very obvious, specific things -- 9/11, the termination of bin laden and his associates who were responsible for 9/11,-- dtermietermination of bin ladend his associates who were resp onsible for 9/11, and, as we mentioned, the taliban government refused to give them up. so the mission of the first afghan war, i would suggest, was to kill or capture bin laden and his closest associates. that war ended when he left afghanistan and/or we realized he left. the second war began immediately afterwards and was too diffuse or embarrassment of having-- our embarrassment of having utterly failed. >> so all of this about counterinsurgency and phone usage in afghanistan and girls learning to read were not why we the people went into afghanistan, and we would be just as happy barely being able
to spell afghanistan and having only a few specialists know where it is. but it was that purpose, and once that purpose was lost because he left, we were fumbling around. so building up a central government or improving life there was not something we the people signed on for. it was to kill or capture bid laden, and the government continues to avoid embarrassment by staying there. >> we did not invade germany to make it properous. we did not invade japan to make a prosperous democracy. and a major export power. but we did both of those things very consciously in the aftermath of the war because we did not want either of those
countries to return, in one case, nazism, and the other case military is them. -- militarism. the reason we stayed on in afghanistan was so the taliban would not returned, so i cut-- al qaeda --uld not return, and its and afghanistan we would have a base to attack. >> they're not on the level of nazi germany, we're not implying? >> you will always go into a war to stop something. you never going to war for positive outcome. you went to war to stop aggression, to stop genocide, to stop something. once you have stopped, you are left with, what do we do now? the answer is you want to make sure it's better than before the war. otherwise, what is the point? >> right now we are at the point where we will be engaging the taliban and reconciliation, which was not necessarily one of
the options when we invaded germany. >> that was one of our mistakes. >> there are some really big differences between world war ii and afghanistan. the overall global threat that was there in world war ii with fascism and nazism, did is also -- world war ii is also an historical example where strategy made sense and where you had unconditional surrender as the policy objective, and in a very elaborate and well thought-through and generally well-executed by all the allies the u.s., great britain, and others -- to achieve that policy aim. i think with afghanistan, absolutely we were right to go in and hammer al qaeda and taliban for their support of al qaeda. and then, i agree with a lot of the points that you made. we achieved our objective fairly quickly. by 2002, relatively speaking there were only a handful of al qaeda fighters left.
now we're back to the basic question of strategy, what does it take to keep after that corps after thatective? -- core policy objective, and whether or not we needed to stay and fix and build to achieve it. >> we also have to understand the cost of staying, fixing, and building in 2002, 2003 was exponentially less than they were in 2009-2010. had had we committed more resources than we did, but nothing on the order of what we have done today, we would not be having this discussion today. had washington listen to people like ambassador dobbins, among others, and more properly resourced some basic state building, basic training of afghan security forces, basic peacekeeping efforts in major cities -- mind you, back then, much of the burden would have
been distributed among nato partners and others. it would be a far different discussion. but when you get to 2009, it may not be there are two afghan wars, it is more like there are three. the initial 2001, then the period of the rift that goes-- dirrift that goes from 2002, late 2002 to early 2009, and then the decision to sort of recommit. by that point, the cost of getting there was so much greater. and that is when they are really needed to be, in my view, a more substantive argument over, well, yes, it would be great to have a functioning afghan state, you do not want un-government spaces--
ungoverned spaces because of what that potentially yields with bad actors in those areas, but the cost-benefit analysis, which probably could have been easily calculated in 2002 and come out positive, by 2009, the cost, at least to me, seemed to be far too great. >> sadly, with that, we have gone substantially over time. i would like to thank all of the speakers on the dais with me. thank you very much. lunch reception will be held on the second level of the conference center, by the staircase. thank you so much for coming. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
>> tomorrow, to events focused on u.s. defense policy in asia. military education and training in the future of u.s. military engagement in asia. that is live at 10:00 a.m. eastern. deputy secretary of defense ashton carter will talk about u.s. strategy towards the the region, live at 3:00 eastern. both events are hosted by the center for strategic and international studies. we will bring them to you live here on c-span. next, defense secretary chuck hagel delivers his first major address since being confirmed as secretary. he talks about sequestration
and strategic review led by deputy secretary ashton carter. from the national defense university in washington. this is just under an hour. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you. general, thank you. i am proud to be here and will continue to contribute to our country. i thank you for that service. for our fancy general, to give such a overstated introduction to a retired army sergeant -- [laughter] it is something i rarely get, but i am very appreciative of
the generous introduction. to you and all of your staff and colleagues, thank you for what you continue to do for our country in thsi iis important is titution. an institution that i think is important for our country and the development not only of our leaders but the leaders of other nations who are represented here today. i think it is one of the wisest investments our country has made and will continue to make in developing our leaders,helping other nations develop their leaders, based not just on military doctrine, but on the principles and values of the mutual respect and dignity, and the rule of law. this facility, this institution,
has done that very effectively for many, many years, so i thank you all. generations of military leaders have come to this institution here at fort mcnair to receive training and education. they needed to succeed not just in combat, but in their daily lives. the responsibilities you all will take on will be immense. everyday, you will face